The Matter of Britain: Blake, Milton, and the Ancient Britons - Whittaker, Jason
This chapter in the volume Blake, Nation and Empire, was part of a publication that emerged from the 2000 William Blake exhibition at Tate Britain gallery, and to which Whittaker was invited to speak. The book set out to challenge the orthodoxy of the politics of William Blake as exclusively radical, defined by his participation in the revolutionary ferment of the 1790s. It examines his work in the context of emergent discourses of nation and empire, and of the construction of a public sphere, and restored the longevity to his artistic career by placing particular emphasis on his output in...
Post-Marxism and British and American fiction - Rowcroft, Andrew
After discussing the intellectual history of post-Marxism, the paper offers a synopsis of my PhD thesis which stages a number of confrontations between the literary narratives of Jonathan Lethem, China Miéville, Thomas Pynchon, David Peace, Kim Stanley Robinson and Dana Spiotta, and the theoretical positions of Ernesto Laclau & Chantal Mouffe, Slavoj Žižek, Alain Badiou, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri.
Sharon Ruston's 'Creating romanticism: case studies in the literature, science and medicine of the 1790s' [Palgrave: 2013] - Davies, John Francis
This book argues that the term 'Romanticism' should be more culturally-inclusive, recognising the importance of scientific and medical ideas that helped shape some of the key concepts of the period, such as natural rights, the creative imagination and the sublime. The book discusses a range of authors including Joanna Baillie, Edmund Burke, Erasmus Darwin, William Godwin, Joseph Priestly, Mary Shelley, and Mary Wollstonecraft. Humphry Davy is given particular attention and his poetry and chemistry are explored as central to Romantic efforts in both poetry and science.
Literature and photography in transition, 1850-1915 - Clayton, Owen
Literature and Photography in Transition, 1850-1915 looks at how British and American writers used early photography and film as illustrations and metaphors. It concentrates on five figures in particular: Henry Mayhew, Robert Louis Stevenson, Amy Levy, William Dean Howells, and Jack London, each of whom deals with the transition between photographic methodologies. The book argues that their writing can be analysed most fruitfully via a consideration of technological difference.
'"As the road leads cursed and charmed": the disappointed traveller in Joni Mitchell's 'Hejira.'' - Charnock, Ruth
My paper, entitled “‘As the road leads cursed and charmed’: the disappointed traveller in Joni Mitchell’s Hejira“ reads Mitchell’s 1976 album [which takes its title from the Arabic meaning ‘flight’ or ‘emigration’] as an exercise in failed flight, both from the stultifying intimacy of personal relationships and the diktats of the music industry. Whilst tracks such as ‘Coyote’, ‘Black Crow’ and ‘Refuge of the Roads’ [along with the nomadic imagery of the album’s cover] initially seem to exult in the potentiality of the road, I will argue that Hejira is profoundly ambivalent about the possibility of escape, an ambivalence most...
Elizabeth Gaskell and the Madonna: metaphors of the maternal divine - Styler, Rebecca
Gaskell evokes the image of the Madonna in several fictional works, to consider its value as a metaphor for the maternal aspect of God. Her representation of the Marian cult is placed in the context of contemporary debates about the universal value of the Virgin Mary as a religious symbol, a discourse which includes the voices of Anna Jameson, Frances Power Cobbe, and Sarah Stickney Ellis among others. Gaskell’s Mariology is shaped by Unitarian theological views on the use of religious images, and by Gaskell’s own ambivalence towards the spiritual/moral status of maternal feeling. Thus her fiction includes multiple versions...
When the two sevens clash: David Peace’s crime fiction as ‘occult history’ - Lockwood, Dean
This paper focuses upon David Peace’s crime writing, specifically the sequence known as the Red Riding Quartet, four novels published between 1999 and 2002 which deal with police and press investigations of murders and sex crimes in the North of England in the period from 1974 to 1983. I reflect upon Peace’s claim that these books constitute an ‘occult history’ of the North. I explore this claim through discussion of one of the novels in particular, 'Nineteen Seventy-Seven'. It is in this novel that the ‘occult’ in ‘occult history’ unfolds most fully. I argue that Peace’s novel can be understood...
Worming-worlding: reading as fabulatory infection in China Miéville’s Weird - Coley, Rob; Lockwood, Dean
The paper develops the idea of a fabulatory politics as intimated in several essays in which Miéville has reflected on the weird and as sketched out in our article, ‘The Radical Fantastic’, for the journal C21 Literature (Vol.1, No.1, 2012). Our focus here is on readers as producers, or transmitters, of the weird. Particular attention is paid to Miéville’s ‘Afterweird’ for a recent anthology in which he paints the weird, against its etymology (Wyrd), as anti-fate: ‘The fact of the weird is the fact that the worldweave is ripped and unfinished’. Burrowing beneath and through the world, the weird constitutes...
Literary theology by women writers of the nineteenth century - Styler, Rebecca
Examining popular fiction, life writing, poetry and political works, Rebecca Styler explores women's contributions to theology in the nineteenth century. Female writers acted as amateur theologians through the use of secular literary forms, through which they questioned the Christian tradition relative to contemporary concerns about political ethics, gender identity, and personal meaning. Each writer negotiates the gendered constraints and opportunities available to her particular religious setting and her chosen literary genre. Expressing frustrations with their inherited religious tradition, each nonetheless finds resources within it to reconfigure Christianity in creative and earthly ways, to meet pressing personal and social needs. Subjects...
Science, sexuality and sensation novels: pleasures of the senses - Garrison, Laurie
Science, Sexuality and Sensation Novels offers the most detailed account of the prolific debate about the sensation novel published to date. Reviewers did not simply condemn and dismiss the genre; instead they theorized the sensual forms of reading the sensation novel inspired and they debated its effects on the body and the mind. Physiology in particular offered accounts of the body and the senses that aided in the formulation of theories of the physical reading that the sensation novel inspired. Sensation novelists helped to provoke reviewer attention to senses, bodies and physical stimulation through their own preoccupations with sciences centrally...